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Country Insights

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North Korea leader visits Russia
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 24 Apr 2019
Kim Jong Un arrived in Vladivostok, Russia on April 25. The North Korean leader is in Russia's Far East to meet President Putin for the first time. North Korea and Russia have been allies since 1945. Sanctions on North Korea are biting and a summit between Kim and Trump last month made no progres...

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US ending sanctions exemptions means a boost for Russia
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 23 Apr 2019
On April 22 the White House announced it was ending exemptions to its sanctions on Iran. Until now 8 countries have been able to buy Iranian oil without facing pushback from Washington. These included China, India, Turkey and others. The news led to a Brent crude price rise by 3.3.%. The RUR jump...

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Essential CIS Politics: April 2019
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - Report 23 Apr 2019
* Political novice Zelenskiy elected president of Ukraine. * Overall, economic news for Russia is rosy but the government is no more popular than before. * The resignation of the Kazakh president came sooner than expected. His replacement, Tokayev, called an early election. * Belarus...

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Russia asks China to co-operate on Arctic trade route
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 23 Apr 2019
The Russian ambassador to China is seeking Chinese co-operation on developing the Arctic trade route. Andrei Denisov, speaking on April 18, said this was linked to negotiations about Russian gas sales called Power of Siberia Two. Power of Siberia One is a gas deal due to expire in December this y...

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Import substitution runs into difficulties
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 21 Apr 2019
Putin's economic aide Andrei Belousov said that national projects are to use Russian equipment insofar as possible. These projects were announced in May 2018. Belousov ordered the Ministry of Trade and Industry to draw up a list of Russian equipment for these projects and to propose legislative a...

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Ukrainian presidential debate will probably not save Poroshenko
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 19 Apr 2019
The two Ukrainian presidential candidates are due to debate at 19:00 local time today. President Poroshenko is hoping he can expose his challenger Zelenskiy as a leightweight. Even if it goes well for Poroshenko it is probably too late as polling day is April 21. One poll showed 72% of people wil...

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Healthy profits for Russian hydrocarbons but no coherent strategy
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 18 Apr 2019
OPEC + is considering how to handle the market supply balance. Oil prices are reaching USD 70 a barrel. This is good news for Rosneft and other Russian oil companies. Russia has only reduced production by half as much as OPEC asked. OPEC members are considering raising production. Too abrupt a pr...

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German investment in Russia highest since 2008
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 17 Apr 2019
German investment in Russia reached over EUR 3 billion in 2018. This was the highest figure since 2008. However, in those 10 years the number of German businesses in Russia declined from 6 000 to 4 500. The 2018 investment figure was EUR 3.2 billion: a twofold increase on the 2017 figure.Germany ...

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St Petersburg wins instead of Kazan in High Speed Rail plan
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 17 Apr 2019
President Putin has signed off on a plan to improve High Speed Rail (HSR) between Moscow and St Petersburg. The plan for the HSR from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod and then to Kazan has been aborted. Putin wants to upgrade HSR between Moscow and St Petersburg which is his native city. Lack of resourc...

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Russian Government plan to increase non-fuel exports
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 13 Apr 2019
Finance Minister Siluanov visited the Samsung Electronics Plant in Kaluga Region on April 12. His mission was to assess how the national project for the development of exports is progressing. This plan excludes hydrocarbons since Russia has no difficulty selling those. He was there with bureaucra...

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Overthrow of Sudanese President is bad news for Russia
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 12 Apr 2019
On April 11 the Sudanese Army ousted President Omar Bashir. This military coup is unwelcome news in Moscow because Russia had a good relationship with Bashir. Bashir was one of the few Arab leaders never to have withdrawn recognition from the Assad Government in Syria. He even visited Syria last ...

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CBR worried about growing personal debt
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 10 Apr 2019
The first deputy of the Bank of Russia (CBR) has voiced her fear that excessive personal and company debt is holding the economy back. Ksenia Yudaeva said that the issue seems to be a permanent one and exacerbating social problems. In 2015 many salaries were slashed due to a sharp economic contra...

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Kazakhstan calls early presidential election
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 09 Apr 2019
Tokayev was only inaugurated last month as acting president. On April 9 he announced a snap election will be held on June 9. The election was due to be held in April 2020. Why is he bringing it forward? He is capitalizing on his honeymoon with the public. Election have been brought forward before...

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Fuel price agreement agreed in Russia
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 07 Apr 2019
The oil sector has agreed to prolong its gentleman's agreement with the government to keep oil prices as static as possible. Vice Premier Dmitry Kozak was pleased to announce this on 5 April. The government considers it important to maintain price continuity as oil taxes are changing and oil refi...

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Nazarbayev resigns while retaining power: looking ahead
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - Report 03 Apr 2019
On March 19, Nursultan Nazarbayev announced on TV his resignation from the position of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Kassym-Jomart Tokaev, speaker of the Senate, will temporarily fulfill the functions of the President. Tokaev’s previous position, second in the Constitutional hierarchy,...